The Wrong Kind of Sleep - Church in Doctor's Office #5

Bible Book: Revelation  3 : 1-6
Subject: Church; Laziness of Congregation; Wake Up Church
Series: Your Church in the Doctor's Office

A man, holding his lifeless dog came into the vet’s office. With tears in his eyes he walked up to the vet and said, “I think my dog, my all time favorite friend, has died. Can you tell me for sure?”

The vet told the man to bring the dog into his examining room for a complete checkup. The vet motioned for the man to place the dog on the examining table and he put on his stethoscope and listened for a heartbeat. The vet looked up to the brokenhearted man and said, “I’m not completely sure your dog is dead, would you like me to perform another test?”

The man immediately said, “Yes, do what you have to do!”

The vet left the office and came back with a 15 pound yellow tabby cat. He placed the cat on the examining table with the dog and the cat walked all around the dog, but the dog didn’t move. The vet picked up the cat and took it out of the room and within a few seconds he returned. The vet placed his hand upon the man’s shoulder and said with 100% certainty, “Sir, your dog is dead!”

The man broke out in a loud sob but in a minute he recovered enough to thank the vet for being so thorough and asked him for his bill. The doctor pulled a pen and pad out of his jacket, wrote something on it and handed it to the man.

The man read the note and quickly realized that the amount of the bill was for $1,050.00 dollars. The man’s mourning turned into anger as he yelled at the vet, “How can you charge me $1,050.00 just to tell me my dog is dead?”

“Well,” the vet replied, “The $50.00 is my charge and the $1,000.00 is the charge for the CAT scan!”

In some things it is very easy to tell whether life is present or not. In others it is not so easy. The Church of Sardis had read about the four previous Churches that Jesus Christ had examined. They knew the Church of Ephesus was hard working and active in their community. They were patient and had a great grasp on theology, but they had a problem. They were lazy in love! As a matter of fact, they did not love God nor each other like they once had. They knew the Church of Smyrna had suffered greatly for the faith, and had remained faithful to their Savior. The Church in Smyrna knew they were never alone, never outnumbered, never going to have an easy life, never going to be poor, and they were never far from home. They knew the Church at Pergamum faced opposition from Satan, and they were going to have to decide if they were going to compromise their faith to get along in the world, because they were contaminated by the things of the world. Next was the Church at Thyatira, a body of believers who had love, faith, service and patient endurance, but they allowed a false teacher to hold court in their midst. Jesus told them that He had given them time to repent, and that He expects His followers to remain faithful to Him, regardless of what was going on around them.

This brings us to the Church in Sardis. Up to this point this Church was feeling good about themselves! Why? Because they had something that up to this point no other Church had, and that was a reputation! A reputation is what other people say about you, and this Church had a good reputation, one that said they were alive and well. They were talked about in other cities, and when the Church members would travel to those cities and tell people they belonged to the Church in Sardis, the people would say, “Wow, I heard your Church is just great! I heard that it is growing and making a difference in the community for Christ!” The church member would smile and say, “Well, we have been blessed, we have a great Church.” When that church member returned home, he would tell the members at Church, “Everybody is talking about us, how great we are, how much life we have within our fellowship.” Yes, the Church in Sardis was probably looking forward to hearing a Word from Jesus because they believed that Jesus was going to say the same thing that everybody else was saying, “You’re alive and well, you’re doing great!” However, that was not the case.

Before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s look at the Church in Sardis. It was one of the oldest and most important cities in Asia Minor. It was formerly the capital of the kingdom of Lydia. For more than two thousand years, it was a famous city under successive empires. The city was strategically placed between Mount Tmolus and the Pactolus River, which made it practically impossible for their enemies to conquer. Because of their location they had a security about them believing no one could hurt or conquer them. However, on two different occasions in their history, they had been invaded by their enemies because they had been invaded by their enemies because they had felt secure, believing that their location was invasion proof, their guard went to sleep on the job and they were overrun.

Their reputation had given them a false sense of security, and now Jesus is examining them to see for Himself if what is said about the Church of Sardis is true. Jesus, the Great Physician is calling The Church of Sardis into the examining room. Do they live up to their hype? Jesus is not influenced by reputation, for He truly knows our history. At the same time we should not forget what we are supposed to remember. Don’t be deceived by what you see, because if you look at the city of Sardis, you will see a city that was the true emblem of success. They were in their prime and pomp for all to look at, including none other than Jesus Christ.

At one time this Church had lived up to its reputation. They were composed of genuine Christians, for there was life in their ministry, Christian life at home, work, and in their souls. However, this did not continue, something happened. The influence of the Holy Spirit was less and less desired, and consequently, less enjoyed.

Jesus simply said the Church of Sardis was a “Sleeping Church.” They had form without life, they boasted of a profession without any fruit. Believe it or not, this is a slow process in the life of a person or a Church, Character is not determined by a single act, but by habitual conduct. Jesus does not use a great deal of bedside manner in talking to His Church, for He tells them to “Wake up.” Now the Church of Sardis knows what to expect. I want us to look at this Scripture to see how a “Sleeping Church” can help us in our walk with Christ.

I. The Problem With The Many

What was the problem with the many at the Church in Sardis? Some said they were worldly. This could be true. If they were addicted to things that perish with use, then it would be a sign of a dying Church. Others said that it was an impure Church. Since so few had kept their garments clean, discipleship was unknown to a majority of members.

They had a reputation for being what they were not. The world will generally see the worst side of the Church, and God sees the best. However, in Sardis, just the opposite was true. Don’t be so excited about what the world thinks about you. The people in Sardis were great talkers, for they had convinced their world that they were on fire for God. When the world began to brag on them, the Church began to believe it!

They could not finish what they started! They were fickle. They would start a work, grow weary, and then jump to something else. Whatever they did complete, it was for themselves. If you can’t finish what you have started, it may be because you are doing it for the wrong reason.

They needed to hear the truth. They had a dereliction of duty; they were experiencing a loss of faith, and they were showing a decay of love. The weak things of the soul were in immediate danger, and required immediate attention.

This was the problem that was faced by the many. What would they do? So many times we read things in the Book of Revelation that are hard to understand, but this is not one of them! Jesus was direct and to the point. What are we willing to do with what we know is right? What will we do with the truth?

II. The Power In The Few

In this Scripture we see the danger of sin in the life of God’s people. However, it also shows something else. It shows that even in the middle of sin and foolishness that even God’s people can grow.

  • True godliness can exist under negative external circumstances.
  • True godliness will always be noticed by the Great Physician. You will never be forgotten by Christ, never!
  • True godliness by always be distinguished by a glorious reward. The faithful few were able to keep their garments clean because:

They were focused on the facts, and not their feelings They were faithful to the call, not fickle to it

They were fruitful to the finish

III. The Promise By The One

Jesus says, “I know your works.” This is a two-fold promise. Christ never goes by hearsay, or the reputation of past deeds. Jesus knows the FBC of Cherryville. He has observed our worship by being present in our services. He knows our hearts and our motives. We must be willing to listen when Jesus is willing to speak, for He speaks with authority.

Jesus wants you to compare the past with the present, and you will see a difference. We also see the evidence of hope. We see the power of Christ to call His battered, sin-callused troops to repentance, and he will call us to remember what we have heard and to obey. You see, true repentance includes the hope of being restored to the enjoyment of spiritual prosperity. He looked at their ancestors who had been caught napping when they should have been awake and ready. He says to the Church, “Don’t go to sleep!”

Don’t allow your faith and love to die from the inside. You will never have anything to substitute it in your heart!

We have the promise of judgment, but we also have the hope for change. We know that Christ will never ask us to do something that we are unable to deliver or carry out. I don’t want to be sleep walking in my Christian life and service. I want to be found faithful, awake, alert and on duty at all times! I want to walk with Christ in the light! I want to be found worthy, knowing that Jesus makes it possible. I also know that no man gets to the point where he is beyond the need of forgiveness!